A SINGLE Jake England goal gave North Devon Gazette Premier Division leaders Bideford Reserves their first win in their opening game of the new year.

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The Robins switched venues in order to get the ball rolling in 2013, sacrificing a March home tie with Barnstaple AAC in order to get a game on after nearly a month on the sidelines.

Boca Seniors only managed a 1-0 win at Pottington Road the previous week and the match against Bideford was every bit as tight.

England put the visitors in front after 20 minutes when he followed up Will Nicholls’ parried shot, and Bideford were unable to double their lead on 60 minutes when Aaron Stevens had a penalty saved.

Torridgeside kept the pressure on the leaders with a 2-1 at home to Ilfracombe Reserves.

Paddy Ions opened the scoring from the penalty spot and doubled the lead with his second before the break.

The hosts felt hard done by to have two second-half strikes ruled out and had to endure what manager Barry Paine described as a ‘nervy’ finish after Ryan Welch pulled one back for ‘Combe with five minutes to go.

Shebbear United moved to the highest league position in the club’s history when they climbed to 10th place after an unlikely comeback against Shamwickshire Rovers.

Visitors Shammy went 2-0 up in the first half through Ben Evans-Loude and James Bateman.

James Vanstone pulled a goal back after the break before Shebbear player-manager Martin Davey was shown a red card for the first time in a 10-year career in local football.

The foul on Shammy goalkeeper Dan Elston was deemed bookable, as was a previous challenge on Mark Jury.

But despite being reduced to 10 men, Shebbear found themselves back on level terms on the hour mark, Greg Mitchell saving Vanstone’s blushes as he polished off his team mate’s squandered penalty kick.

And Mitchell was the hosts’ hero when he bagged the winner with five minutes to go.

In the day’s other result, Dave Richards scored a second-half equaliser for Putford in a 1-1 draw at home to Appledore Reserves.

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